Top 10 Cryptocurrencies—The Currencies for the Future?
Since the price of Bitcoin smashed through the price value of $7000 a few years back, the world could not help but notice. While most people are now familiar with the word ‘bitcoin’ most are yet to understand what cryptocurrencies are, and the technologies behind them.
Cryptocurrencies simply refer to the digital or virtual currencies that take the form of tokens or coins. They can be exchanged or speculated on just like fiat [traditional] money, but exist purely on the internet and outside the control of any government or institution.
The ‘crypto’ in cryptocurrency signifies the complex cryptography technology that allows a particular token [coin] to be generated, stored, and transacted securely and anonymously. Although bitcoin is the first, and by far the most popular cryptocurrency, it is not the only one.
There’s a massive number of cryptocurrencies available today, all with unique features and values. But those with considerable market capitalization are, at least for now, in the minority. Here is a review of the top ten cryptocurrencies of 2019 and some of the diverse features they represent.
The first, most popular, and largest cryptocurrency in the world, Bitcoin is the epitome of the digital currency world as well as the concepts it endorses. BTC was launched about 10 years ago in 2009 by a developer using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The developer(s) developed a distributed ledger technology called Blockchain that allowed users to make anonymous transactions to anyone around the world without interacting with other financial entities.
Since its launch, Bitcoin has produced other popular coins such as Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash, but the enigma of the mother BTC remains. At present, there are about 16.8 million bitcoin tokens in circulation, against the current capped limit of 21 million. Its market capitalization varies considerably from time to time, but BTC has hit a record high of approximately $200 Billion. The current value of 1 BTC is about $7,878.11.
The second generation of cryptos began with Ethereum, following the same Blockchain framework as Bitcoin. However, what makes ETH unique from Bitcoin is that it expands on its Blockchain technologies to fashion a completely new network that includes a payment system, coding language, and an internet browser.
In other words, ETH is a decentralized, open-source Blockchain-based software system that allows people to build and deploy decentralized applications. Its cryptocurrency is referred to as Ether, and it is easier to mine than Bitcoin. Vitalik Buterin and associate developers founded ETH in 2014. The current value of one ETH is about $251.50, while its market capitalization is around $26.76 Billion.
Known as BTC’s ‘Little Brother’ or ‘Silver to Bitcoin’s Gold’, Litecoin resembles Bitcoin in almost every aspect but has higher transaction speed, and its token limit is significantly higher currently standing at 84 Million. This digital currency was created by a former Google engineer, Charlie Lee as a BTC spinoff or altcoin in 2011.
Like most cryptos, mathematics in LTC secures the network and empowers individuals to control their own finances. With considerable trade volume, liquidity, and industry support Litecoin is a proven medium of commerce complementary to BTC. The current value of 1 LTC is about $96, whilst its market cap is approximately $6 Billion.
Zcash is a robust privacy-protecting, a digital currency that is built on strong science. Like BTC, ZEC’s transactions are built on Blockchain, but unlike BTC personal and transaction data remain completely private. This is allowed by a unique feature called “Zero Knowledge Proof” that’s designed to allow transactions to be verified without revealing details about the sender, receiver, or the transaction amount. At the time of writing, the value of 1 ZEC stood at $75.96 and its market cap approaching about $5 Billion.
Launched in January of 2014, Dash was originally called Darkcoin and was designed to offer a more secretive version of BTC. This crypto offers more confidentiality since it works on a decentralized master-code network [called InstantX] that provides nearly untraceable transactions. When sending funds, users can use InstantX, and their transaction will be fully sent and become irreversible within 4 seconds.
As of the current design, the maximum number of DASHs that will be created will be 22 million, which makes it a deflationary currency, like most of the other cryptos. Its market capitalization is currently above $1 Billion while its market value of 1 DASH stands at about $152.
- Ripple (XRP)
Ripple has been as a centralized transaction network to be used by banks for decentralized payment transactions. Basically, Ripple used XRP currency—cash converted to the XRP coins, sent via Ripple platform and then converted back to cash upon withdrawal. The system enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real time using peer-to-peer transparency, and at lower costs. Unlike the majority of digital currencies, XRP doesn’t require mining, which minimizes network latency and computing power. At the time of writing, ripple had a significantly low market value of $0.423088 and a market cap of nearly $18 Billion.
Monero is an open-source digital currency that was launched back in April 2014. The currency focuses on decentralization, privacy, and fungibility [mutually interchangeable]. The currency uses an obfuscated public ledger implying that anyone can transact using XMR, but no outsider observer can access the transaction. XMR transactions are confirmed by distributed consensus which are then immutably recorded on the blockchain. At present, Monero has a market capitalization that nears $1 Billion while 1 XRM is about $90.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
This is another offshoot or altcoin from original BTC which was established in the summer of 2017. Despite its young age, BCH has soared to become one of the most traded cryptocurrencies in recent years. BCH was born out of the idea of increasing BTC’s block size limit, which drove some developers to prepare a code change. This change, which was referred to as Hard Fork took effect in August 1st 2017, and as a result, BCH was born. BCH brings to the world sound money which fulfils the original pledge made by BTC—bringing people ‘Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash’.
With BCH, users and merchants are empowered with reliable confirmation and low transaction costs. The future of BCH is said to shine bright with decentralized development, ‘permission-less’ innovation, global adoption, and unrestricted growth. In fact, BCH’s share growth is approximately the same as the original BTC. The major difference is that BCH has an 8MB block size compared to 1MB BTC. This means faster processing speed for BCH, but [on the downside] more memory-sensitive. Currently, BCH has a market cap of nearly $7.5 Billion with 1 coin valued at about $418.
Originally referred to as AntShares, NEO was created in 2014 but later rebranded to its current name by the original developers Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang. This remains the largest crypto designed from China and is sometimes called the ‘Chinese Ethereum’ because of its use of smart contracts, and perhaps because it originates from China. When the coin was launched, it was only worth about $0.16, but within a year, a single token was worth about $162 constituting a return of more than 111, 000%.
At the time of writing, 1 NEO was worth $12.64 with a market cap of just above $800 Million. NEO uses a smart technological mechanism called Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT), which supports up to 10, 000 transactions per second. NEO is not all about the cryptocurrency; like Ethereum, NEO allows developers to efficiently deploy and scale smart contract application under its NEO Blockchain.
Like Ethereum and NEO, Cardano has a platform where people can send and receive digital transactions. Its own cryptocurrency is known as ADA. The entire system was created in 2015 by Ethereum co-founder, Charles Hopkinson becoming the first peer-blockchain devised by both academics and scientists. Beyond what Ethereum and NEO offer, ADA aims to Cardano’s ADA targets to solve some of the pressing issues within the cryptocurrency world, including scalability and interoperability. The current market cap of Cardano’s ADA is about $2.3 Billion, while the current value of one coin stands at $0.091178.
While some people are of the opinion that cryptocurrencies are headed towards an enormous bust, the reality is that most of the cryptos that made this list are bustling with activity, and their values will only get better. Even though crypto prices and trading volumes will fluctuate from time to time, the world’s leading crypto projects are working hard to make payments and peer-to-peer transactions efficient and more adaptable. That said, it is safe to say that cryptocurrencies represent a massive part of the present and future of business and finance!